The oppression of women spans centuries and borders. In virtually every country and culture in the world, women have less-than-equal status to men and they are often relegated to subservient and submissive roles. Women suffer from domestic violence, job barriers, lack of control over their bodies, and fewer options for healthcare. They often do not have a voice in matters as broad as politics or as narrow as what happens within their own families.
As one might expect, much of the research in the area of wife abuse has been done by feminists, some of whom themselves have been victims of wife beating. They speak with an understandable bitterness and anger toward a society so insensitive that it only publicly acknowledged the plight of battered women decades after having established laws to prohibit the abuse of animals. And often they have given up on the hope that change will come through social institutions such as the church. Rather than seeing the church as part of the solution to the abuse of women, they almost unanimously perceive the church as a big part of the problem.
Adults in your church, small group, or other Christian organization are silently suffering the tragic consequences of having been sexually abused as children or youth. Why aren't they coming forward for help? Their reluctance may be related to wounds given by the faithful—religious people they trusted, who said things like "well, it wasn't rape" or "it's been thirty years—why is this such a big deal?" Such responses from people with religious authority deepen victims' need to shrink into anxiety, depression, and self-degradation. This book offers you the tools needed to undertake caring ministry to adults suffering in the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse. Once you understand the scientific research on such topics as trauma memory, consequences of abuse, and forgiveness, you will appreciate how caring collaboration can create hope and healing. In these pages every reader will find helpful content that will take you from feeling out of your depth to knowing you are empowered to be an effective companion in God's transforming work in the lives of survivors of abuse.
We as a society and a church need to talk about “no.” Because Mollie Tibbetts said “no” and now she’s dead. Because Parisian Marie Laguerre said “no” to a cat-caller and was slapped in the face. Because Ariana Grande sang a beautiful tribute to Aretha Franklin and was groped on live television by a pastor.
A brutal grand jury report on clergy abuse of minors in Pennsylvania was published last week. It details a mass cover-up of sexual abuse of minors by more than three hundred priests in Pennsylvania, and outlines the procedures churches employed to protect predatory priests and conceal sexual abuse.
We asked our supporters what concrete measures churches can take to combat abuse in Christian communities and strengthen their internal response to abuse. Some of you weighed in with some great ideas and examples, which we’ve compiled below.
Naturally, social hierarchies are safe for those at the top. They’re designed to preserve the existing social structure, which already prioritizes the needs and perspectives of the group with power. Social hierarchies don’t make less powerful people and groups safer. Rather, they exacerbate any vulnerabilities and pose danger and harm to marginalized people.